I Want It Now! How Instant Gratification Is Now Tablestakes For Retailers
Updated: Aug 20, 2018
In the words of the legendary Veruca Salt “I don’t care how, I want it now!” Veruca, who has taught countless children the downfalls of instant gratification, would be amazed at today’s environment. She wants a golden goose? Daddy can have it delivered to her in short order. She wants to try to newest toys, makeup or clothes? She can order endless subscription boxes with new products delivered often. And she doesn’t have to fall down a garbage shoot to find what she’s looking for.
Amazon has disrupted the retail industry and really made convenience tablestakes for traditional retailers. Amazon revolutionized shopping by introducing Prime, which features free two day shipping as the core value proposition. At just 13 years old (Mazel Tov on your Bar Mitzvah!), Prime has racked up over 100 MILLION paying members worldwide. Amazon hasn’t stopped there – they have launched Prime Now for same day delivery, Dash buttons, voice activated ordering and with Amazon Key, they can even put your packages right into your car trunk or home, if opening your door is too much effort.
Traditional retailers can play the convenience game and win. Convenient doesn’t mean just in close physical proximity, but it is about an easy shopping experience, that is seamless between online and the physical store. One example that has become almost a given is the ability to buy online and pick up in store. Now retailers are taking it up a notch. Target acquired same day delivery provider Shipt for $550M. I have personally used this and I don’t see a dramatic price markup on individual items (unlike other grocery delivery services). WalMart has curbside grocery pick up in 1000+ stores and is rolling out nationally. They want everyone to know, they put a TV buy against it.
Subscriptions are also picking up steam. It’s a “set it and forget it” option for regular items. Amazon and players like Stitch Fix, Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox have really mastered this, but traditional retailers have dipped their toes in the water. Gap has launched the BabyGap Outfit Box, a seasonal assortment of curated baby fashion that sizes up as the child grows.
Target has an array of baby subscriptions, which come with a 15% discount, as well as a competitor to the BabyGap product with their Cat & Jack Box. Subscriptions aren’t just for fashion items. Office Depot rolled out a subscription service for office consumables, such as ink, toner and paper (Full disclosure – I worked for Office Depot’s marketing department for 5+ years). Petco, in addition to offering subscriptions for pet basics like food and liter, acquired PupBox, in late 2017. PupBox is a curated pet subscription service that was featured on Shark Tank.
Which retailers are making their customer’s lives easier? What is your favorite convenience feature these days?
Check out yesterday’s post on my observations on the state of retail